Arkansas casino hopes to cash in on legal sports wagering


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – As of this week, you can now bet on sporting events in Arkansas. The Natural State is the ninth in the nation to allow sports betting and the only one in the Four-States Region.

The new Race and Sports Book area at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs is the only place in the state where you can take a gamble with sports wagering.

James Pickering has been coming to Oaklawn for more than 40 years. He said the new addition of sports betting may be a home run.

“The seats are comfortable, the kiosks are easy to use, it’s great all around,” said Pickering.

Touch-screen kiosks allow guests to make their own selections. Tellers are also on-hand to offer some guidance.

“We’re able to provide a level of entertainment that we hadn’t had before, so it just enhances the casino experience,” said Oaklawn General Manager Wayne Smith.

Since they started accepting bets July 1, live events like baseball and the women’s soccer world cup have seen a lot of action. You can also take a chance on future games, like the NCAA football championship.

But, American pro and college sports aren’t the only ones on the roster.

“We offer cricket, we offer rugby, we offer a lot of the international sports that you’re not used to seeing in America,” said Zack Gillham, mutuals and sports book manager. “We wanted to offer our customers as much as we could.”

It’s also not just about who wins and who loses.

“As the game is going on, we’re able to give you certain wagers that you can put down for a particular event and also we allow for proposition bets, so how many strikes will a pitcher have,” said Smith.

Sports wagering adds another entertainment option to Oaklawn. Officials already started planning for an increase in visitors with construction currently underway for a casino expansion and 200-room hotel.

“Now we believe that with sports betting, with our hotel, with our spa, that we’ll start having a regional draw,” said Smith.

And when it comes to placing your bets, Pickering has some advice.

“Just bet with your head and not over it,” said Pickering. “That’s about the best thing to do.”

The minimum sports bet you can place is $5 and the maximum is a $50,000 win, which includes your stake.

You can place bets from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily at Oaklawn. Officials say once football kicks off, they expect it to be their busiest season.

Construction on the casino expansion and new hotel is expected to be complete by the end of 2020.

If you have a gambling problem, you can call toll-free for help: 1-800-522-4700.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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